The Mary Valley was looking very beautiful on a summer’s day as I made my way to Meaghan Shelton’s studio in the small rural township of Imbil. Imbil itself looked something like a postcard for the ideal village life and I almost wished I lived there.
Meaghan’s home is high on a hill with a view, lots of outdoor spaces to choose from. It’s also home to a small, champagne- coloured dog, a friendly cat that likes to sit on the table, and Meaghan’s partner. It’s a warm and relaxing place that suits her quiet strength of character and her roots growing up in rural Victoria.
The studio, up the hill just a little behind the house is a light-filled workspace filled with tools, materials, semi- finished artworks and objects of memory, desire or inspiration. The clutter that is such a feature of so many artist’s studios is eclectic and interesting – a blend of stray objects, materials waiting to be transformed by some strange alchemy into artworks, and the tools of trade of an artist.
Meaghan trained as a painter at RMIT and painting remains firmly fixed in her sight as her dominant art form, and the works she has created for ‘Now and Then’ pay passing homage to this. However none of them can be said to be ‘a painting’ in the traditional sense.
Some artists create each new piece of work from a new perspective, but Meaghan has a consistent, conceptual theme that underpins her work in a variety of mediums and for a variety of spaces and audiences. She is interested in bridging the boundaries between ‘craft’ and ‘art’, in the story of the feminine presence, and in the way women’s contributions have been relegated to the background of art history. Her work for ‘Now and Then’ reflects this theme.
‘Now and Then’ opens at Gympie Regional Gallery on February 29th. The official opening is on March 4th at 6.30 pm.